The backbone of Nazareth Colleges Musical Theatre Program
I went behind the scenes to discover what it takes to run a successful musical theatre program. Corinne Aquilina is the director of Nazareth College’s Musical Theatre Program. Aquilina was first given a temporary position at the private school. Soon after Nazareth saw Aquilina passion for teaching they promoted her to full time.
“In my day I wanted only Broadway, but my parents wanted to have something to fall back on so I majored in music education…I did teach for a few years, but the passion was there to go on the road, and the road was my biggest education.” said Aquilina. Aquilina has past and current experience in the theatre. She was in the pit for Broadways The Boys from Oz, Annie, Five Guys Named Moe, and The Great American Trailer Park Musical. She has also worked on original works including Treasure Island, A New Musical; Pump N Go; The Littlest Witch. Regional credits include Hairspray, The Drowsy Chaperone, Full Monty, Forty Second Street, Five Guys Named Moe, Smokey Joe’s Cafe, Spelling Bee, Cabaret, Chicago, Miss Saigon, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Evita, La Cage, My Fair Lady, The King & I, The Sound of Music, Nunsense, Oliver, Tintypes, Brigadoon, Kiss Me Kate, Anything Goes, Dames at Sea, Singin’ in the Rain, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Damn Yankees, and Daddy Long Legs. She is also apart of Dramatists Guild, ASCAP, and AFM Local 802. She also works in the entertainment business today music directing with The Rev theatre Company most recently performing South Pacific in 2019.
Due to Aquilinas work in the theatre, she is able to bring in professionals to direct and teach. In the past few years Corinne has helped produce musicals like Chaplin (2020) directed by Broadway actress Valerie Wright. Nazareth also produced The Drowsy Chaperone (2019) directed by director Trey Compton, Guys and Dolls (2019) directed by casting director Bob Cline, The Adams Family (2018) directed by Robin Levine.
Aquilina brings in top director, but she has also hired professionals as professors. One notable professor is Nicolette Hart. Hart has been on Broadway in Wedding Singer, Legally Blonde, Million Dollar Quartet. “I’ve never felt so fulfilled in something outside of performance until I came here…she (Aquilina) gave that to me, she trusted me, and for that I will always be so unbelievably grateful and ideated to her.” said Hart.
Not only has Aquilina changed the lives of her staff but also her students. I interviewed some of her students who adore her. I asked them to give me a word that described Aquilina. A few of the answers were passionate, mom, strong-willed, talented, loving, resilient, total determination, and fearless. Corinne Aquilina has changed so many lives, and she continues to love and care for her students each and every day.